Hale Johnson was originally from New Jersey, but has lived in rural Western Massachusetts for over 30 years. He attended the Lafayette College and Newark School of Fine Art and has had over 55 solo exhibitions nationwide.
Hale Johnson is an oil landscapist of four decades and is established as a great American Realist painter akin to Andrew Wyeth and Eric Sloan. He is most noted for his stark yet emotive landscapes of iconic New England. Using oil against a medium grey ground which is applied to canvas or panel surface, Hale's large works are completed from on site studies. From his rural home he intentionally seeks locations that evoke strong response to the history of the land and the people who toil there. Often featuring weathered barns, boats, and well used farm equipment, Hale's paintings represent a quiet restrain and delicate sensitivity to detail. There is a fascination with texture - particularly that of old paint peeled woods, rugged grasses, and craggy rocks. Each composition balances his tight precision with areas of loosely brushed strokes, relieving the eye, providing relational distances, and allowing Hale to control focus. This technique has developed over the course of his career, becoming "more painterly".
Johnson's works betray a deep interest in regional history. When asked about his works, he says "I just simply can't sit and paint a vase of flowers for two hours. It just doesn’t interest me." He admires the historic structures in New England because they are "set right to the land." These depictions of architecture and working tools speak to the human struggle for survival in the challenging climate of the region.
Hale Johnson is a member of the American Artists Professional League, the Academic Artist's Association, the Grumbacher Award, the Copley Society, the Berkshire Art Association and the Salmagundi Club.